By Rachel Louise Ensign
Bank of America Corp.'s merchant-services joint-venture has laid off about 10% of its staffers as a part of a restructuring, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bank of America Merchant Services let go about 250 employees last week, the person said. The business, operated in conjunction with First Data Corp. since 2009, earlier this year employed about 2,200 people.
Last Wednesday, "we announced to employees a restructuring designed to accelerate our business strategy and better meet merchants' evolving expectations in this increasingly digital era," a firm spokesman said. The unit is trying to bolster the digital services it provides to merchants either through its own technology or partnerships.
The merchant-services company involves helping businesses handle debit- and credit-card transactions. Firms in this line of business often collect a fee for transaction processing and a commission on equipment leases and sales. Industrywide, merchant processors collected about $18.15 billion in debit- and credit-card fees from merchants in 2016, according to the Nilson Report, a newsletter tracking the payments industry.
In 2013, Bank of America Merchant Services was the top U.S. merchant acquirer by Visa and Mastercard purchase volume, with $517 billion in such payments and 654,000 merchant outlets, according to the Nilson Report. By last year, that purchase-volume metric had grown to $546 billion, but it slipped to the second-largest acquirer by Visa and Mastercard purchase volume after J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Merchant Services, which had more than $800 billion in such payments.
Charles Martin, a Tampa, Fla.-based employee who was laid off, said he and two local colleagues were told last Wednesday that their jobs were eliminated and that day would be their final day of work. "It took me by surprise," Mr. Martin said.
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